To lead, you have to know where you are going. Which isn’t always easy.
For some people it’s easier to work out where you don’t want to be first.
When Richard Branson found himself ‘bumped’ from his flight to the British Virgin Islands, he didn’t want to be stuck in an airport, feeling frustrated and wasting his time. He didn’t want to be that person who just accepted the situation passively and believed they couldn’t do anything about it. He didn’t want to be the passenger, the bystander, the ‘bumped’.
He absorbed the information around him and reacted to it, in a way that led to the beginning of the Virgin Airlines.
So how did he do it? What was his method? How do leaders think?
That’s just it – often it’s not conscious thinking; it’s about an unconscious processing of information into action. And for those aspiring leaders who aren’t able to do it unconsciously yet, we can help them by working through the process consciously until it becomes second nature for them.
Think like a leader
- What are you feeling? When you feel frustrated, angry or fed up that’s a clue that you need to move somewhere else. When you register that feeling ask the following questions.
- Where do you not want to be? For Richard Branson that was easy. He didn’t want to be in the airport he was in. For you, is it a country, a town, a specific building?
- Who do you not want to be with? Are there people who drain you? People who don’t value you? People who don’t share the same hopes as you?
- What do you not want to be saying? Listen to yourself. Do you ever get fed up with what you hear yourself saying? What are the words you don’t want to be using any more?
- What don’t you want to be doing? Waiting around, taking orders from someone else, wasting time? You know what presses your buttons.
- What’s not important to you? Maybe at work, what’s do you find yourself doing that doesn’t really matter to you? What doesn’t inspire you?
- Who do you not want to be? The person who waits for things to happen, who gets bypassed for promotion, who stands still?
- How do you not want to feel? Back to question 1 again – devalued, unsupported, ignored?
This process works
By figuring out where you don’t want to be, it’s much easier to figure our where you want to be, and that’s the first step to being able to lead – to know where you are going. By discovering what you don’t want to do, you have more freedom to do. And by recognising that trigger feeling you can harness it to drive your decisions and actions.
It’s easy to be clear about where you are going, in your job, your life or your relationships. It’s easy to lead your self first. Where are you not going?